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Wilmington Branch

From the downtown river district and Riverwalk that skirts the storied Cape Fear River to the new and modern facilities that are remaking the riverfront’s skyline, Wilmington, NC is a must-see southern destination. Rivaling Charleston and Savannah in its charm and history and voted America’s Best Riverfront, Wilmington serves as the portal to all this area has to offer.

You’ll love Wilmington’s riverfront, historic neighborhoods and everything in between. Enjoy a relaxed coastal lifestyle for the perfect getaway filled with unlimited vacation choices.


Have You Considered Refinancing?

A tight budget, an expensive home renovation and the desire to get your home paid off quicker are all good reasons to refinance your home. But what does refinancing your home mean and how can it help you achieve your financial goals? Take a look at the definition of home refinancing and what it can do for you.

What is Refinancing?

When a homeowner is refinancing, it means the homeowner is attempting to acquire a new mortgage for their home. The new mortgage pays off the original mortgage, usually giving the borrowers a better interest rate and/or a shorter term, or even cash.

Why Refinance?

  • To Lower the Interest Rate– Most mortgage lenders say that shaving even .50% off of a mortgage interest rate is a good enough incentive to consider refinancing. The long-term savings by getting a rate reduction can outweigh the cost of a mortgage refinance.
  • Shorten the Term of the Loan– The most common mortgage terms are 15-year and 30-year. In some cases, with a lower interest rate, getting a new 15-year can leave monthly payments very similar to what they were at the 30-year mortgage rate inevitably getting the home paid off much quicker. Changing from an ARM to a Fixed-Rate – Adjustable rate mortgages can offer lower interest rates at times. However, an arm isn’t for everyone. When homeowners need to control their monthly budgets with a more steady payment, changing to a fixed-rate mortgage when rates are low may be the best way to go.
  • Draw From the Equity– Sometimes homeowners need large sums of money to cover expenses such as a remodeling project, school tuition, or to consolidate other debts like credit cards and auto loans. It’s important to evaluate overall financial health and spending habits before tidying up other debts and expenses using your mortgage.
  • Eliminate PMI– Another possible benefit to refinancing is the elimination of private mortgage insurance. If the original down payment on the home was less than 20% PMI is usually required by the lender. A borrower may be able to refinance and if the value of the home has increased enough, thus eliminating PMI.

Points to Consider

  • Cost of the refinance– Application fees, title fees, lender closing fees, and loan origination fees are all costs to look into before deciding to refinance. Lenders, like Land Home Financial will help homeowners figure out when and if the costs would be recuperated.
  • Overall Financial Health– If the main goal of the refinance is to pay off the mortgage earlier, borrowers should also consider their other financial goals. The ability to save appropriately for retirement and pay off other higher interest loans should be factored into the decision to refinance. If refinancing doesn’t affect the monthly payment very much, refinancing could be just the ticket to achieving personal financial success.
  • Requirements– Contact Land Home Financial to find out the requirements for refinancing.

Final Words

By working with a trusted residential mortgage lender, homeowners can find a loan that is tailored to their specific financial situation, offering just the right term and interest rates. The refinancing process will operate quickly and smoothly, giving them true financial security and peace of mind.


Choose the Right Home Loan

Unless you can buy a house entirely in cash, finding the right house is only half the battle. The other half is choosing the best type of home mortgage. Since you’ll likely be paying back your mortgage over a long period of time, it’s important to find a loan that meets your needs and your budget.

What Is a Conventional Loan?

A conventional mortgage or conventional loan is any type of home buyer’s loan that is not offered or secured by a government entity, but instead is available through or guaranteed by a private lender (banks, credit unions, mortgage companies) or the two government-sponsored enterprises, the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae)and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac).

Land Home Financial FICO ScoresConventional Loans have a minimum credit FICO of 580* along with a few other requirements. We offer down payments as low as 3%**(requirements vary based on occupancy type). This type of loan applies to owner occupancy, second homes and investment properties. Now, there are gifting funds that are allowed on owner occupied and second home properties. Mortgage insurance is required when the loan-to-value greater than 80%. Lastly, seller contributions of 2% to 9% depending on the loan-to-value and occupancy type.

 

What is an FHA Loan?

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is a U.S. agency offering mortgage insurance to FHA-approved lenders that meet specific qualifications. Mortgage insurance protects lenders against losses from mortgage defaults. If a borrower defaults on a loan, the FHA pays the lender a specified claim amount.

Land Home Financial FHA LoanThe primary goal of establishing the FHA is to stimulate the housing industry. The underlying idea was that by providing insurance to lenders, more individuals, or customers, would qualify for mortgages to buy homes. Most FHA Loans are for individuals who could not afford, and would not ordinarily qualify for, a traditional home mortgage loan.

Specifically, FHA Loans have a minimum credit FICO of 580 (620 for high balance loans and cash out refinances) along with a few other requirements. We offer down payments as low as 3.5%**(requirements vary based on occupancy type). This type of loan applies to owner occupied properties. Now, there are 100% gifting funds that are allowed for this type of loan. Upfront mortgage insurance premiums (UPMIP) financed monthly Mortgage Insurance required. Lastly, seller contributions are allowed up to 6%.

How about a VA Loan?

The Veterans Administration was formerly an independent government agency founded in 1930, at the height of the Great Depression. Commonly referred to as “the VA,” the organization provided patient care, veterans’ benefits, and other services to veterans of the U.S. armed forces and their families. It also provided this group with disability compensation for those who were injured or contracted a disease while serving, education and training, medical, surgical, and rehabilitative care, readjustment counseling, bereavement counseling, surviving spouse benefits, care and benefits to homeless veterans, medical research, life insurance, vocational rehabilitation, headstones/burial markers, and home loan assistance.

Land Home Financial VA LoanTo be eligible for a VA-guaranteed home loan, veterans must have served on active duty in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard or Marines. The specific service requirements will vary, depending on the time period during which a veteran served. A certificate of eligibility is required to obtain a VA loan, and the loan can be obtained through any mortgage lender who participates in the VA home loan program.

The VA-guaranteed home loan is one of very few 0% down payment loans available in the United States. A minimum FICO of 580 (620 for cash out refinance, 640 for high balance loans). Occupancy rules are for owner occupied, there’s 100%gift funds allowed, Upfront funding fee may be financed, there are no monthly Mortgage Insurance is required and seller concessions are up to 4%.

 

What is a USDA Home Loan?

Perhaps you feel more at home surrounded by pastures than pavement. If so, buying a home might be well within reach, thanks to the U.S. Department of Agriculture mortgage program. In fact, the USDA might have one of the government’s least-known mortgage assistance programs.

A USDA home loan is a zero down payment mortgage for eligible rural and suburban homebuyers. USDA loans are issued through the USDA loan program, also known as the USDA Rural Development Guaranteed Housing Loan Program, by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Land Home Financial USDA ApprovedSpecifically, FHA Loans have a minimum credit FICO of 620 along with a few other requirements. No down payment is required and applies to owner occupancy. Additionally, there are 100% gifting funds that are allowed for this type of loan. Upfront mortgage insurance fee may be financed and lastly, seller contributions are allowed up to 6%.

The Bottom Line

Choosing the loan that’s best for your situation relies primarily on your financial health: your income, credit history and score, employment, and financial goals. We can help analyze your finances to help determine the best loan products. Also, we can help you better understand the qualification requirements, which tend to be complex. A supportive lender or mortgage broker may also give you homework—targeted areas of your finances to improve—to put you in the strongest position possible to get a mortgage and buy a home.


2019 Real Estate Trends

Okay, 2018 was quite the tease in the housing market. The year started out hot, only to taper off halfway through. But plenty of Americans still traded their For Sale signs for Sold ones, and they’ll usher in the new year from the comfort of their new homes. So will 2019 bring more of the same results? How will the housing market shake out in the current economic climate?

Whether you’re selling your home, buying or staying at your current home, here are the 2019 home real estate trends you need to know!

#1: Home Prices Are Rising Slowly

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard that during the course of 2017 and early 2018, home prices made a giant 10% jump. Wow! This year, however, may be a different story. Home prices are estimated to rise in 2019, but at a much slower pace, and the number of homes for sale is expected to increase by a mere 1%.

What’s the reason? Well, part of the slowdown is due to increased mortgage interest rates and another part is because of overall economic uncertainty. That combination is enough to discourage many buyers who are on the fence about purchasing a home.

Find expert agents to help you buy your home.

But there are still eager buyers in the market, and many of them are looking for newly built homes. In fact, new home construction is projected to increase by 8% in 2019. That’s the good news. Here’s the bad news: There just aren’t enough new homes to go around in some areas. Plus, construction companies also don’t have the manpower to keep up with demand.

What’s the bottom line? Expect the new construction that is available to go for a higher price.

What Higher Prices Mean for Sellers

A nice profit may be on the horizon! The number of homes sold next year is still expected to rise, even if it’s at a slow pace. That’s great news for sellers! But keep in mind that a lot of buyers are being priced out of the market, which could lead to fewer offers for your home.

So what should you do about this? Be aware of your competition. With less offers to go around, you want your home to really stand out from similar ones in your area. Prepare your home for potential home buyers and work with a real estate agent to help you list your home at the right price.

And be sure to wait for the right offer. Some buyers may try to gut punch you with a low number. If you aren’t in a hurry to move, wait for an offer that gives you the most profit. Remember, the less desperate person always has the upper hand when negotiating!

What Higher Prices Mean for Buyers

If you’re going to buy a home in this expensive market, you absolutely must find out how much house you can really afford.

Commit to staying within that budget amount. Don’t rush into a home purchase that doesn’t make financial sense for you no matter how much pressure you feel watching competitors pluck good homes off the market. You could screw up your finances!

A down payment that’s less than 10% could strangle your budget with massive monthly mortgage payments. But if you want to get prepared to buy and you’re committed to your budget, here are some options to consider:

  • Keep saving. If you stay patient and motivated, you can save for a 5-figure down payment by next year.
  • Sacrifice some wants. If you can’t afford to buy the house you want, be willing to give up some “nice-to-haves” for your “must-haves.” Find the least expensive home in the best neighborhood you can afford and you can upgrade as your income and savings increase over time.
  • Expand your search. What if the location where you’re planning to buy is what’s busting your budget? You might be surprised at the gem you can find in a less popular neighborhood.

Buying a home can be stressful, there are many “homebuyer guides” that can help you streamline the process! It’ll help you think through all the important parts so you can rest easy when your dream home is officially yours.

#2: Mortgage Interest Rates Are on the Rise

Mortgage interest rates are on the rise after years of being at a standstill. Interest rates are projected to increase to an average of 5% for a 30-year mortgage and 4.4% for a 15-year mortgage.

It’s been seven years since mortgage rates were this high. But despite grumblings, that doesn’t mean the economy is in trouble. It actually means the opposite! To help stabilize the strong economy and rising inflation during the past few years, the Federal Reserve increased short-term interest rates. It’s somewhat natural to see a trickle-down effect to the bank level like what we’re seeing now with mortgage interest rates.

The increase basically means more people are willing to spend and borrow. Still, expect things to be a little different next year as buyers and sellers adjust to these changes.

What Higher Mortgage Interest Rates Mean for Sellers

In a nutshell, plan for your house to be on the market a little longer and prepare to possibly receive fewer offers. A mortgage is a big commitment, and adding higher interest rates to the mix will make many buyers pause. Partner with a relator who understands the current market. They’ll help you set expectations for how much you can make, and how long you’ll have to wait for the right offer.

What Higher Mortgage Interest Rates Mean for Buyers

Even though mortgage interest rates are the highest they’ve been in a while, they’re still relatively low. If you’re not buying with cash, be smart and go for a conventional 15-year fixed-rate mortgage. That way, you know exactly what your payment will be over the life of the loan.

#3: The Majority of Home Buyers Are Millennials

Move aside, baby boomers and Gen Xers! Guess who’s taking the over the homeowner leaderboard? Yep, you better believe it. Millennials are busting out all over. They’re getting older and finding stable careers. Their household income has increased to $88,200, and they’re looking to buy their first homes in middle and upper-middle class neighborhoods.

This works out perfectly for them as more baby boomers are retiring and downsizing. Next year, millennials will lead the way in number of mortgages, accounting for 45% of the market. They’ll be followed by Gen Xers at 37% and baby boomers at 17%.

In 2019, millennials will lead the way in number of mortgages, accounting for 45% of the market. They’ll be followed by Gen Xers at 37% and baby boomers at 17%.

What More Millennial Home Buyers Means for Sellers

Here are three important words: Know your buyer. Millennials are internet savvy and do their research before house shopping. They look for:

  • Easy online shopping. The home search starts online for millennials, so you need to make the best possible impression on the internet. Make sure you invest in high quality photos, and, for extra measure, consider using a drone to take aerial video footage.
  • Quality over size. Yes, square footage matters. But millennials are more concerned about how sustainable and usable each space is. Get rid of your junk so they can visualize a bright future in your home without your stuff there.
  • Location. A lot of millennials are looking for homes that offer big city life at a more affordable cost of living. If your home is in a walkable area with access to public transit, expect millennials to come knocking at your door.
  • Low-maintenance lifestyle. Millennials are used to living in the age of high-tech advances and Amazon Prime. They’re looking for energy-efficient homes with smart appliances. If you don’t have them, they’ll look elsewhere or lower their offer so they can upgrade after they buy.

What More Millennial Home Buyers Means for Buyers

Okay, if you’re looking for a three-bedroom, single-family home in the suburbs, expect to have a lot of competition. You may have to reprioritize what you want in a dream home. Follow these tips:

  • Know what you want. Decide what you absolutely need in a home. If you’re married and house hunting, you and your spouse need to agree on must-haves. Compare your individual lists and combine them for your real estate agent to use as the foundation of your home search.
  • Write a letter. Sending a personal story to your seller might be just the thing that makes you stand out from similar offers.
  • Hire an experienced pro. Last year, 90% of millennial home buyers used real estate agents to purchase their homes. Think they’re onto something? You bet! Don’t try to buy on your own.

What If I’m Not Buying or Selling a Home This Year?

You may be thinking, All this is great, but I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. We hear you, and here’s what you should know for now:

1. Equity will likely continue to increase by 2–6% each year until 2020.

With most housing markets at low risk for a downturn, last years Housing and Mortgage Market Review estimated home prices will continue to rise for the next couple of years, with annual increases of 2–6%. Who-hoo for sellers! If you sell your house before 2020, you’ll likely still make a great profit.

2. From what we can see, the real estate market is not going to crash.

With such fast-rising mortgage interest rates, some are wondering if the housing market could collapse again. Well, it’s impossible to know for sure, but a number of factors indicate a housing crash is not in the foreseeable future and the economy is still strong. Here are some indicators:

  • People are spending money.
  • There’s a low unemployment rate and new career opportunities..
  • Millennials want to buy.
  • Taxes are lower.

3. Regardless of your neighborhood, buyers are interested.

Even though buyers in 2019 may be more selective, determined ones might be willing to consider neighborhoods that don’t have easy access to highways or aren’t in close proximity to a big city. If you think you live in an unpopular neighborhood or believe your home isn’t what buyers are looking for, think again. Now may be your perfect time to sell.


20 Reasons to join Land Home Financial

20 Reasons to join LHFS

Land Home is a privately-owned mortgage banker, opened in 1988. We strive to promote and live by a community-based philosophy with our external customers and internal LHFS community. Land Home Financial is committed to servicing its customers by providing home loan options that best fit their needs.

Does Your Company do the following:

  1. Service over 90% of your closed loans?
  2. Send monthly mortgage statements with your picture and contact information?
  3. Pay you a yearly Residual bonus on your serviced loan volume, year over year?
  4. Pay you same BPS on all funded loans including DPA’s and Bond Loans? With NO pay tiers!
  5. Have payroll cycles that DO NOT end on last day of the month? (This is huge)
  6. Offer a zero-employee cost health insurance plan for employee only coverage?
  7. Allow MANUAL U/W down to 580 on FHA & VA loans
  8. Have zero hits to price due to credit score or loan amount on FHA & USDA loans above 620?
  9. Have zero price hits due to credit score or loan amount on VA loans over a 600?
  10. Respect our Veterans by not charging any lender fees on VA Loans?
  11. Is the Master Servicer of their own Down Payment Assistance suite of products?
  12. Offer a 1% down Freddie loan with lender paid MI?
  13. Offer DPA products down to a 620 score?
  14. Offer a full suite of products for Manufactured Housing, including Construction to Perm?
  15. Have an internal appraisal desk, thus eliminating the need for an AMC?
  16. Has their own US based Contact Center that will call on behalf of your realtors to invite the public to their Open Houses?
  17. Have a Boarding Department resource that helps you navigate and get acclimated during your first 120 days.
  18. Has a one-page sheet of internal overlays? We U/W to the AUS Findings!!
  19. Have over 5 Billion dollars in their Servicing Portfolio? Significant monthly cash flow!!
  20. Locate your branch on “Main Street” in your community?

How many NO’s did you come up with? At Land Home Financial, we say YES to all of these and more.

With all these features, could you see yourself making more money? We would enjoy the opportunity to have a confidential conversation to see if Land Home Financial is a fit for you!


9 Tips to Get Money for a Down Payment

Get Money for a Down Payment

Whether you’re purchasing an existing home, building a new home or planning to fix up an older home, you’re probably excited about the prospect of closing the deal and moving in.

Not so fast. Buying a home is an expensive proposition – the biggest investment that most families ever make. While you aren’t required to cover the entire purchase price up front, you do need most times to come up with a down payment before you can close on your home.

The Biggest Closing Cost of All

money-down-payment-calculator

 

Most line items are small change compared with probably the biggest closing expense of all: your down payment. This is because your down payment is a key part of the offer you present to the seller. The general rule of thumb is simple: the larger the down payment, the stronger the offer. More precisely: the greater the down payment’s share of the total purchase price, the more likely the seller is to accept.

 

 

 

Tips and Tricks to Save

1. Determine Your Expected Down Payment and Timeframe

First, figure out about how big your down payment will be.

Down payment size is a function of three overlapping factors: your desired initial loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, your time horizon (when you want to buy), and local housing market conditions. When people talk about budgeting for a future home purchase, they generally refer to list prices: “We’re willing to pay $300,000,” or “We can afford $250,000, but no more.”

However, on the matter of affordability, the most important number is the down payment amount. If you can’t cobble together a $50,000 down payment on a $250,000 house (or a $400,000 house, if you’re putting down less than 20%), then you can’t really afford the house.

Lastly, don’t completely deplete your bank account to buy your dream home. It’s wise to have at least three months’ income in liquid savings as an emergency fund, regardless of your near- or long-term goals. Six months is even better.

2. Shrink Your Required Down Payment With a Special Loan

If you’re looking to buy on an accelerated timetable, live in an expensive housing market, or doubt your ability to save for a 20% down payment on an acceptable house in your target neighborhood, look into special loan programs with lower down payment requirements.

Beyond program-specific requirements, these special loans have some important drawbacks. Perhaps most importantly, they carry Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) premiums until LTV reaches 78% (though you can formally request PMI removal at 80% LTV).

3. Take Advantage of LHFS Down Payment Assistance Programs

Relatively few prospective homeowners realize that they could qualify for national down payment assistance programs that can reduce their out-of-pocket down payment costs by thousands of dollars.

4. Pay Off Outstanding Credit Card Debt

For many folks, paying off credit card debt is a high-priority goal. Even the low APR Credit Cards usually charge interest rates north of 10% APR. On an average balance of $1,000, that’s $100 in interest charges each year. If your debt load is higher, adjust accordingly.

Paying off credit card debt isn’t always straightforward, though. Focus on your highest-interest debt first, even if that means putting as little as $25 or $50 extra toward your payment each month. As your high-interest debt load shrinks, you can move onto lower-interest credit card debt, and you’ll likely accelerate your progress toward a $0 balance. With lower (or no) interest charges eating into your spending and saving power, you can then direct your dollars toward your down payment fund.

5. Set Aside a Portion of Your Tax Refund

Expecting a tax refund this year? Reserve a slice of it to reward yourself for all your hard work last year – a nice restaurant meal, a frugal weekend getaway, a new piece of furniture for your home. Enjoy it.

Then sock the rest of your refund away in your down payment fund. If you reliably receive a $3,000 refund, spend $1,000, and save the rest, you’ll have $6,000 after three years, and $10,000 after five. That probably won’t account for your entire down payment, but it can’t hurt.

6. Make Recurring Savings Deposits

Knowing you need to set money aside each month is one thing. Actually doing it is another. Set yourself a calendar reminder on the same day each month or pay period to transfer a set amount of money – at least 5% of your take-home pay, and ideally 10% – into your primary savings account. You can then separate the share allotted to your down payment from your general savings or other savings goals. Or, better yet, create a separate savings account whose sole purpose is to hold your down payment funds.

7. Automate Your Savings Deposits

What’s even better than recurring savings account deposits? Automated savings account deposits that you don’t have to remember to execute each month. Most banks allow recurring savings transfers from internal or external checking accounts. Examine your budget and determine how much you can afford to save each pay period or month, and then make it happen, preferably on the same date (or the day after) you receive your paycheck or direct deposit.

8. Withdraw from Your IRA Without Penalty

Under certain conditions, your retirement account can serve as a supplemental funding source for your down payment.

This isn’t free money, of course. If you have a traditional IRA, you need to pay taxes on the withdrawn amount at your overall rate – 28% in the 28% bracket, and so on. On a Roth IRA held for longer than five years, your withdrawal is tax-free, because you’ve already paid taxes on the contribution.

If you and your spouse both have IRAs, you can both withdraw up to $10,000, for a total of $20,000. Depending on the projected size of your down payment, that could be a sizable boost. And, on Roth IRAs held longer than five years, you can withdraw tax- and penalty-free contributions in excess of $10,000, though any withdrawn earnings are taxable at your normal rate.

However, you also have to consider the opportunity cost of taking that money out of your account, potentially for years (by the time you make additional contributions to cover your withdrawal).

9. Take a 401k Loan

You can also borrow from employer-sponsored 401k or fund your down payment. On 401k loans, borrowing limits are much more generous: You can borrow up to the lesser of $50,000 or half the value of the account. That’s enough to fund a 20% down payment on a $250,000 house, or a 10% down payment on a $500,000 house.

However, the devil is in the details. You have to pay back your 401k loans, with interest – typically at 2% above the prime rate. On larger loans, that means several years’ worth of three-figure monthly payments and several thousand in interest charges. Plus, if you take out a 401k loan before applying for a mortgage loan, your credit utilization ratio will spike, which could raise your mortgage loan’s interest rate or cause the bank to think twice about lending to you in the first place.

As a general rule of thumb, 401k loans are useful in two situations: for funding small down payments ($5,000 or less) in their entirety or as the last piece of a multi-year, multi-source down payment funding strategy.

Final Word

Your house might be the single biggest purchase you ever make, but it won’t be the only big-ticket item you ever buy. Unless you can comfortably live without a car, you’re likely to buy a used vehicle every few years. If you have kids, you’ll need to budget for their education. Once you’re ensconced in your home, you’ll probably want to make sensible improvements that enhance its value or accommodate your growing family. And, all the while, you need to have enough set aside for the unexpected.

Every one of these items, and many others not mentioned here, demand a measured, thought-out savings strategy. As you notch small victories in your quest to cobble together a down payment for your dream home, don’t neglect your other goals – whether you’re aiming to reach them next month, next year, or next decade.


Deciding the Best Place to Find a Home

Best Place to Find a Home

When you’re deciding the best place to find a home it can be said that “home is where the heart is.” Here are the most important factors to help you find a home that suits the needs of you and your family.

1. Affordability

No matter what your pay grade is, living comfortably and within your means should be your first concern. Affordability includes more than just housing expenses; the prices for consumable goods, like groceries, vary greatly from town to town. The price of gasoline, utility services including electric and water, and taxes, also varies.

2. Taxes

There are 40 states provide property tax credits or homestead exemptions that can provide homeowners with some additional tax relief. Consider local sales tax, income tax, and tax credits and exemptions when you’re looking for the perfect place to find a home.

3. Employment Opportunities

Employment opportunities vary from state to state and city to city, so spend some time researching the job markets in different areas of the country. Start by analyzing quality employment opportunities within your industry, then determine where the highest concentration of these jobs are located. Income levels for jobs can vary greatly from state to state. Do your research before you move, and ideally, find a job before you relocate.

4. Real Estate Value

Since buying a home is the single largest investment you will probably ever make, you need to seriously consider this factor. With real estate in a constant state of flux, it’s important to research current home prices, the length of time homes are for sale, the resale values of homes, and probable long-term value estimates.

5. Crime Rates and Statistics

No one wants to live in a high-crime area, but that doesn’t mean that everyone can live in a Utopian society where crime never happens. By researching the crime rates and statistics for various areas, you can learn more about the safety of a town or neighborhood.

Keep in mind that just because an area is safe today does not guarantee that it will be safe in the future. The long-term stability for a neighborhood can be a determining factor in how safe your surroundings are. Also, consider the future development of a particular location as you narrow down your choices.

6. Proximity to Family and Friends

Find a home close to friends and familyIf extended family and friends are important to you, choose to find a home either within driving distance or within a reasonable distance by plane. Otherwise, you’ll constantly feel torn, and likely spend all of your vacation time and energy shuttling back and forth to visit friends and family.

7. Climate

The climate plays a large role in our lives as it impacts our hobbies, behavior, and sometimes even our jobs. Living in the climate in which you are most comfortable contributes to your mental health, so choose wisely!

8. Education System

A good education is essential to setting up children to better handle the rest of their lives, so the importance of good schools cannot be overstated.

9. Culture

If you crave constant cultural stimulation, you definitely want to choose a place that has a lot of cultural offerings. Many people need to be near their favorite team, or a vibrant music scene or the theater. If you have a favorite hobby or recreational activity, make sure that you can continue to pursue these interests when you find a home. Finally, if you enjoy being around a specific religious or ethnic community with your same beliefs and interests, this should be a factor in where you choose to live.

10. Commute Time and Public Transportation Options

The explosive growth of the suburbs surrounding metropolitan areas have made commuting times in many areas unbearable. The length of time it takes to get to work can be a determining factor when deciding on where to find a home. A good public transportation system is a major plus when choosing a place to live.

11. Food Options

If you’re a foodie, you may want to try to find a home to live in near the ocean or near a metropolitan city center. Grocery store fare, while plentiful, doesn’t replace the quality of fresh food from the ocean or fresh produce from the farmers’ market. If eating locally and sustainably is important to you, consider whether you can pursue this lifestyle in your new home.

12. Town or City Size

Best way to find a home as a familyIf you enjoy a friendly wave from everyone you pass while driving to the post office, then a smaller town is definitely for you. If you wish to remain relatively anonymous, find a home in a larger town or a big city is better suited to your personality.

13. Healthcare Facilities

Healthcare facilities are important at any stage in life, but they are especially relevant if you have children or if you are nearing retirement age. Easy access to good healthcare can increase your quality of life exponentially, so be on the lookout for towns and cities with good hospitals and medical schools. Often, there will be a correlation between cities and the quality of the healthcare.

14. Proximity to an Airport

If you travel a lot, you may need to live within close proximity of an airport. If you live more than an hour away from the closest airport, traveling to and from the airport can become very time-consuming and expensive. If you spend a healthy amount of time traveling, definitely consider the distance to the airport.

In closing

The reality of choosing a new place to live encompasses an incredibly large series of factors, all competing for your attention. In order to be successful in your search, you must determine what is most important to you and your family, do your homework, and then continue to be vigilant in your search until you find the right place to live. It can be intimidating and frustrating at times, but all that effort is worth it in the end once you are settled in your ideal location. Happy hunting!


6 Tips to Get Approved for a Home Mortgage Loan

Some people don’t know the first thing about getting a mortgage loan. Applicants who don’t recognize key differences in the application process from anything they’ve applied for are often disappointed when a lender denies their mortgage loan application. Here’s six tips to help you get approved.

Educating yourself is key, and there are a number of ways to avoid this heartache and disappointment when applying for a mortgage loan.

Getting Your Mortgage Loan Approved

Buying a house is already stressful and being ill-prepared heightens the anxiety. Why put yourself through this? Learn how to think like a lender and educate yourself on the best ways to get your mortgage loan approved:

1. Know Your Credit Score

It literally takes a few minutes to pull your credit report and order your credit score. But surprisingly, some future home buyers never review their scores and credit history before submitting a home loan application, assuming that their scores are high enough to qualify. And many never consider the possibility of identity theft. However, a low credit score and credit fraud can stop a mortgage application dead in its tracks.

Mortgage Approval TipsCredit scores and credit activity have a major impact on mortgage approvals. In addition to higher credit score requirements, several missed payments, frequent lateness, and other derogatory credit information can stop mortgage approvals. Pay your bills on time, lower your debts, and stay on top of your credit report. Cleaning up your credit history beforehand and correcting errors on your report are key to keeping up a good credit score.

2. Save Your Cash

Requirements for getting a mortgage loan often change, and if you are considering applying for a home loan in the near future, be ready to cough up the cash. Walking into a lender’s office with zero cash is a quick way to get your home loan application rejected. Mortgage lenders are cautious: Whereas they once approved zero-down mortgage loans, they now require a down payment.

Down payment minimums vary and depend on various factors, such as the type of loan and the lender. Each lender establishes its own criteria for down payments but aim for a higher down payment if you have the means. Lenders attach this extra insurance to properties without 20% equity, and paying PMI increases the monthly mortgage payment. Get rid of PMI payments and you can enjoy lower, more affordable mortgage payments.

Saving Tips from Land Home FinancialAdditionally, down payments aren’t the only expense you must worry about. Getting a mortgage also involves closing costs, home inspections, home appraisals, title searches, credit report fees, application fees, and other expenses. Closing costs are roughly 3% to 5% of the mortgage balance – paid to your lender before you can seal the deal. Not to mention, the new furnishings that you will be eager to buy to fill empty spaces. Be careful and wait for at least three months until you settle in and understand the full picture.

3. Stay at Your Job

Sticking with your employer while going through the home buying process is crucial. Any changes to your employment or income status can stop or greatly delay the mortgage process.

Lenders approve your home loan based on the information provided in your application. Taking a lower-paying job or quitting your job to become self-employed throws a wrench in the plans, and lenders must reevaluate your finances to see if you still qualify for the loan.

4. Pay Down Debt and Avoid New Debt

You don’t need a zero balance on your credit cards to qualify for a mortgage loan. However, the less you owe your creditors, the better. Your debts determine if you can get a mortgage, as well as how much you can acquire from a lender. Lenders evaluate your debt-to-income ratio when approving the mortgage. If you have a high debt ratio because you’re carrying a lot of credit card debt, the lender can turn down your request or offer a lower mortgage.

Paying down your consumer debt before completing an application lowers your debt-to-income ratio and can help you acquire a better mortgage rate. But even if you’re approved for a mortgage with consumer debt, it’s important to avoid new debt while going through the mortgage process.

As a rule, avoid any major purchases until after you’ve closed on the mortgage loan. This can include financing a new car, purchasing home appliances with your credit card, or cosigning someone’s loan.

5. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan before looking at houses is emotionally and financially responsible. On one hand, you know what you can spend before bidding on properties. And on the other hand, you avoid falling in love with a house that you can’t afford.

The pre-approval process is fairly simple: Contact a mortgage lender, submit your financial and personal information, and wait for a response. Pre-approvals include everything from how much you can afford, to the interest rate you’ll pay on the loan. The lender prints a pre-approval letter for your records, and funds are available as soon as a seller accepts your bid. Though it’s not always that simple, it can be.

6. Know What You Can Afford

I know from personal experience that lenders do pre-approve applicants for more than they can afford. After receiving a pre-approval letter from our lender, my husband and I wondered whether they had read the right tax returns. We appreciated the lender’s generosity, but ultimately decided on a home that fit comfortably within our budget.

Don’t let lenders dictate how much you should spend on a mortgage loan. Lenders determine pre-approval amounts based on your income and credit report; however, they don’t factor in how much you spend on daycare, insurance, groceries, or fuel. Rather than purchase a more expensive house because the lender says you can, be smart and keep your housing expense within your means.

Final Thought

If you don’t meet the qualifications for a mortgage loan, don’t get discouraged. Instead, let it be motivation to improve your credit and finances. Many people have risen above credit problems, bankruptcy, foreclosure, and repossession specifically in order to purchase their first house. Just be sure to implement a realistic plan and stick to it.


Wilmington Real Estate 2019 Snapshot

Real Estate Forecast 2019

Wilmington, North Carolina is a strategically positioned port city that benefits immensely from its beach access. It serves as the main hub for the entire state to receive goods by ocean trade. That said, the city’s economic outlook is in good standing and continues to support a healthy housing market.

Average Sold Price is about $270,720

According to Realtor.com, the average home price in the Wilmington real estate market is approximately $389,651. Surprisingly, the region’s home values are 61.9 percent higher than subsequent sold prices. The average sold price is about $240,720, according to MLS data. With such a big difference between values and what homes are actually selling for, Wilmington is a strong buyer’s market. The amount of available inventory exceeds current demand. Buyers have the advantage over sellers due to the abundance of homes on the market, with homes often selling at reduced prices.

Wilmington Market Appreciation Rate

Information provided by Zillow suggests that homes in the Wilmington real estate market have appreciated by as much as 2.8 percent in the last year. Wilmington’s appreciation rate is, however, less than half that of the national average last quarter. Experts expect the coming year to continue a trend of positive price growth, albeit a slightly tempered one. In the next 12 months, experts expect homes in the Wilmington real estate market to appreciate a modest 2.1 percent.

Wilmington real estate is only a part of the 3,396,382 properties and 84,666 homes for sale in North Carolina. As a result, the average home price and average home value of Wilmington also influence the average home price ($206,862) and average sale price ($222,875) of the entire state. That said, homes in Wilmington bring up the average value of North Carolina real estate.

In Summary

For all intents and purposes, the Wilmington real estate market has made great strides since the worst of the recession. Home prices have shown sustainable growth and the job sector looks to be able to handle the growing population. There is little to suggest that Wilmington won’t prosper in the coming years.


The Power Purchase Program

The Power to Purchase

Power Purchase Program:

Power Purchase owning a home

 

LHFS is launching our personalized Power Purchase Program that is competitively priced conventional loan program that requires only a 1% down payment from the homebuyer. Combined with a 2 % Power Purchase grant, the 3% combined equity results with a 97% eligible conforming loan. This program is available for both 1st time homebuyers and repeat homeowner buyers on their primary residence. Refinance transactions are not eligible.

 

First mortgage must meet FHLMC Home Possible Advantage eligibility. Effective 10.01.2017 the 2% Grant funds will be provided by a Non-Profit agency vs. the LHFS Funding It Forward. To be aware of: Conforming loan amounts only, no manual underwriting allowed, manufactured Housing is not allowed, additional subordinate financing not allowed, LTV 97.00%/CLTV 97.00% only, 100% AMI Income Limit Cap and a benefit of having Mortgage Insurance that is lower than 25% coverage cost vs. standard 30% on a 97% LTV!

Power Purchase Program Land Home Financial

* Score over 720 will have a lower MI factor vs. Government products
* Score 620-719, please refer to the MI quote for monthly factor

 

Power Purchase Program Manufactured Housing

modular-homes

LHFS is launching our personalized Power Purchase Program for Manufactured Housing that is competitively priced conventional loan program that requires only a 5% down payment from the homebuyer. Combined with a 2 % Power Purchase gift, the 5% combined equity results with a 95% eligible conforming loan. This program is available for both 1st time homebuyers and repeat homeowner buyers on their primary residence. Refinance transactions are not eligible.

 

 

 

Features:
• First mortgage must meet FHLMC Home Possible eligibility
• Conforming loan amounts only
• No Manual Underwriting allowed
• 3% minimum borrower cash investment requirement, Appraised value or Sales Price, whichever is lower
• 2% NHF 2% Grant contribution is in the form of a Grant, no repayment required
• Additional subordinate financing not allowed, LTV 95.00%/CLTV 95.00% only • 100% AMI Income Limit Cap

*Please note all percentages and statements are subject to change based on regulations that may arise. The use of hypothetical, predictive, and current statements, by Land Home Financial Services are meant to illustrate current operation standards.


Corporate Community Lending Program

Corporate Community Lending Program

Land Home Financial's Corporate Community Lending Program

Land Home Financial Services, Inc was founded on helping stabilize families and companies by providing unmatched specialized lending services. As a Direct Community Seller & Servicer of lending products we have opportunities to create and serve companies with our Corporate Community Lending Program.

Set Your Business Apart

Provide you employees with this exclusive program and receive these benefits:

  • Customized Branded Landing Page for your website
  • Dedicated Phone Line and Email for timely and personalized customer service
  • Reduced Lender Fees for your employees
  • Homebuyer Education and Preparation Services
  • Down Payment Assistance Programs

 

Land Home Financial's Promise to Serve Corporations

 

Your Company’s Unique Value Proposition

Research shows that employees who work for companies that provide programs that assist in the education and facilitation of homeownership, experience:

  • Greater Workplace Satisfaction
  • Fewer Sick & Personal days
  • Overall improved Mental & Physical well-being
  • Sense of Community
  • Financial Security

This means less doctor’s visits & lower healthcare costs – for YOU, the Employer!

 

Corporate Benefits Package

Land Home Financial Service for Your Employees

Home Ownership with Land Home FinancialCommunity INSPIRED – Community FOCUSED – Community DRIVEN

 

We are proud to become your Corporate Community Lending Partner. Contact our office TODAY – see how easy it is to GET STARTED!